Cancer is a class of diseases characterized by out-of-control cell growth. There are over 100 different types of cancer, and each is classified by the type of cell that is initially affected.
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Cancer causes harm to the body when altered cells divide uncontrollably to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors (except in cases of leukemia where cancer prohibits normal blood function by abnormal cell division in the blood stream). Tumors can grow and interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and they can possibly release hormones that alters the functioning of the body. Tumors that stays in one spot and demonstrate limited growth are generally considered to be benign.
More dangerous, or malignant, tumors can be formed when two things occur:
When a cancerous cell manages to move through the body using the blood or lymphatic systems, thereby destroying healthy tissues in a process called invasion.
When cell manages to divide and grow, thereby making new blood vessels to feed itself in a process called angiogenesis.
A situation where tumor is successfully spread to other parts of the body and grows, thereby invading and destroying other healthy tissues, it is said to have metastasized. This process itself is called metastasis, and this may result to a very critical condition that will be very difficult to handle.
According to the American Cancer Society, Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the US and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. The World Health Organisation estimated that, worldwide, there were 14 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths in 2012 (their most recent data).
Individual Types of Cancer
There are over 200 different types of cancer. Here are the following common types of cancer:
There are five broad groups that are used in classifying cancer.
Carcinomas are characterized by cells that covers the internal and external parts of the body such as lung, breast, and colon cancer.
Sarcomas are characterized by cells that are located in the bone, cartilage, fat, connective tissue, muscle, and other supportive tissues.
Lymphomas are cancers that starts in the lymph nodes and immune system tissues.
Leukemias are cancers that starts in the bone marrow and often accumulate in the bloodstream.
Adenomas are cancers that grows in the thyroid, the pituitary gland, the adrenal gland, and other glandular tissues.
Cancers are often referred to, by terms that contains a prefix relating to the cell type from which the cancer originated and a suffix such as -sarcoma, -carcinoma, or just -oma. Some other common prefixes include:
Adeno- = gland
Chondro- = cartilage
Erythro- = red blood cell
Hemangio- = blood vessels
Hepato- = liver
Lipo- = fat
Lympho- = white blood cell
Melano- = pigment cell
Myelo- = bone marrow
Myo- = muscle
Osteo- = bone
Uro- = bladder
Retino- = eye
Neuro- = brain
Causes of cancer
Cancer is ultimately caused as a result of cells that uncontrollably grow and do not die. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division, and death. Programmed cell death is called apoptosis, and when this process breaks down, cancer begins to form. Unlike regular cells, cancer cells do not experience programmatic death and instead continues to grow and divide. This leads to a mass of abnormal cells that grows out of control.
Cancer and other medical factors
As we age, there is an increase in the number of possible cancer-causing mutations in our DNA. This makes age an important risk factor for cancer. Several viruses have also been linked to cancer such as: human papillomavirus (a cause of cervical cancer), hepatitis B and C (causes of liver cancer), and Epstein-Barr virus (a cause of some childhood cancers). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) - and anything else that suppresses or weakens the immune system - inhibits the body's ability to fight infections and increases the chance of developing cancer.
Treatment for cancer
treatment for cancer includes the following:
gene therapy .
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